Guinness Pro12: How will Edinburgh and Glasgow fare in October?

Our man in Edinburgh looks ahead to rounds five and six of the PRO12 for Scotland’s two professional teams…

Glasgow in action Photo: Jason O'Callaghan

Edinburgh Rugby

Who will they face?

Edinburgh travel to Belfast to take on Ulster this week, before hosting Newport Gwent Dragons next Saturday at BT Murrayfield Stadium ahead of the European Cup break mid-way through October.

How have they done so far?

Dream debut in Limerick with a famous win over Munster at Thomond Park, recording just their second win in Ireland in the last 24 visits. Suddenly and unexpectedly, their light extinguished. First a home defeat against Connacht despite leading for most of the match, then the unacceptable performance in Swansea that led to the 62-13 rout against Ospreys.

Last week, a draw at home against Scarlets, coming from behind, ended the negative streak. The Gunners could even have won that match, should the last penalty two minutes over the 80 minutes been a little bit longer.

How have the opposition done so far?

Ulster started the season with a spectacular 32-32 draw at Parc y Scarlets, when they manage to come from 14 points behind, scoring the last try in the last action of the game.

They followed that up with an easy win against Zebre at home, before beating Cardiff Blues comfortably at the BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.

Last week, they suffered a shock defeat to Zebre in Parma, with Declan Fitzpatrick sent off for a punch; four points thrown away that could come back to haunt the Ulstermen at the end of the season.

After three defeats in their opening three matches to Connacht, Ospreys and Glasgow Warriors, the Dragons recorded their first win of the current season last week against Benetton Treviso in Newport. Their injury problems, particularly at centre, have been a problem for Lyn Jones, forcing him to rely on young players.

How will Edinburgh do?

With Ulster determined to wipe out the bad memories from Parma, they should be able to blow away the Gunners, with a losing bonus point the best Alan Solomons’ men should achieve. A result for the Scots against Dragons at Murrayfield is a must if they want to pursue their target – finish the season in the top six – and they should prove too strong for the Dragons.

Glasgow Warriors

Who will they face?

Gregor Townsend’s unbeaten Warriors have two away trips to Treviso and Ulster.

How have they done so far?

Warriors can only win. Four wins out of four matches so far, seeing off the likes of Leinster and Connacht at home and Cardiff Blues and the Dragons (last season’s bogey team) away. The last match, against a resilient Connacht, showed that the Glaswegians are really going from strength to strength and, above all, they learned from the mistakes made last season.

You can easily sense that Warriors always approach the game to win with the bonus point, whatever the opponent. This firm belief in themselves is the X-factor that could lead Townsend and his team to success.

How have the opposition done so far?

Treviso have been the worst team of the league by far. Four defeats from four, 141 points conceded and only 38 scored, with 18 tries allowed to the opponents which make them the worst defence in PRO12. The Leoni still look like a “work in progress” and will not be able to cope with Warriors power and pace.

How will the Warriors do?

It will not be at all easy to reach the European break with an immaculate record of six wins out of six matches, but the Warriors will expect to leave Italy with a bonus-point win.

Ulster in at the Kingspan Stadium will be a tougher match that will test their abilities and attitude. A win there will mean that Warriors are really ready to finally top the PRO12 table.

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